Tag Archives: The History of Byzantium

Not all European beer is equal, some have the ability to punch sobriety right in the face!


I had a super awesome Saturday. It was so awesome I’m still basking in its glory.

What made it so good? My wife spent the entire day on the couch, nearly comatose and completely chagrined, nursing a hangover of epic proportions which meant I was free to do whatever the fuck I wanted.

Not once during this glorious day were the phrases, “Can you do this?” or “I need your help with …,” or “Is that porn?” followed by an accusatory, “Are you drinking another beer?” uttered.

It was arguably, the greatest Saturday I’ve ever known.

Chimay beer -- it will get you drunk!

Chimay beer — it will get you drunk!

Now — the Olivers are no strangers to alcohol  and normally the missus can hold her booze – though she may shake the occasional stranger’s penis while doing it. But Friday was not normal.

This came to light when I got an  invite to a c0worker’s home Friday night for an impromptu barbecue.

“Of course I’ll be there to regale you with my heroic tales of shit,” I said. “And I’ll bring my bride, who, as you are aware, is quite a lady and super duper impressive.”

A quick message to Dagmar, and the plans were confirmed.

When she got off at 6:30 p.m. she met me at my favorite watering hole to follow me to my co-worker’s house.  After her one glass of wine and my 47 beers (46 of which I had to sneak-drink in the bathroom), we left for the barbecue.

Keep track with me — she had one glass of wine.

At the barbecue, like cavemen, we quickly fell into all of our “roles.” The men gathered around the grill and talked about killing stuff and the women gathered in the kitchen to discuss sewing patterns — the way God intended. (I like to pretend that when they weren’t cooking they stripped to their bras and panties and had tickle fights or practiced “making out” with each other.)

As we men stood around the grill, farting, swilling beer and scratching our balls, I noted Dagmar was carrying a fresh glass of wine when she walked out to see what we were up to.

That’s two. Two drinks. At this point we were nowhere near an event that would call for a blog post. She’d accepted a drink after arriving at a party and seemed perfectly normal and charming as she usually does.

Then, an hour or so passes, meat is introduced to fire, and Dagmar, I notice, has switched to beer. Not a red alert in my mind at all, a bit odd maybe, but still OK.

When the meat was cooked, we all moved inside and had an awesome meal. Fucking awesome, as in “I ate asparagus” fucking awesome. It had bacon on it, so by law, it had to be eaten, and bygod it was delicious.

During this time I was focused on my coworkers and the food, not my wife.

Then, after dinner, because I’m a filthy smoker, I excused myself to a nearby exit and hammered another nail in the coffin. Dagmar joined me.

And she was fucking TANKED. Tanked as in the Exxon Valdez-captain tanked.

“We have to go home now,” she slurred, crossing and uncrossing her eyes uncontrollably during the brief conversation.

As she stumbled back inside I assured her we’d leave as soon as possible.

Realizing the seriousness of the situation, I snuffed out the cigarette and went in to collect our things and my drunken wife. But she was no where to be found.

I looked in the living room, in the kitchen, back outside and then, as I moved toward the dining room, the host’s teenage son said with a barely contained giggle, “She’s in the bathroom.”

I should have known this. In our many years of marriage Dagmar has never passed out anywhere but a bathroom floor. I could, and should, write a book about the bathroom floors Dagmar’s passed out on. Movie theater bathroom floor? Check. Bar bathroom floor? Hell, that’s called Tuesday for her. Bathroom floors in various foreign countries? Sure! The only explanation she can give for this behavior is that they’re always nice and cool.

I collected the sprawled-out Dagmar from the bathroom, and with her barely conscious and teetering by my side, I explained to my coworkers that we were going to have to leave the party early.

It was barely 9 p.m. I was baffled. She only had about three drinks in about three hours.

Upon literally pouring her into the passenger seat of my car, she immediately starts to lower the seat back. During this process she, or her seat rather, encountered a small cardboard box that fucked up her mojo.

Fuck your car!

Fuck your car!

Before my eyes she turned into Rick James as impersonated by Dave Chappell.

“Fuck this shit,” she growled, smacking the box and spilling its contents everywhere.

There is rarely a day my wife gets into my car and doesn’t declare it a disaster area.

“This car is disgusting. When are you going to clean this pigsty,” is her usual mantra,  yet here she was making my basically clean car more of a disaster.

This was going to be a long ride. Good thing – like the card-carrying dork that I am – I had the podcast The History of the Byzantine Empire to keep me company. I assumed I could enjoy it because Dagmar would be passed out by the time I put the car into reverse.

But on this night, my choice of podcasts apparently didn’t sit well with my inebriated princess. Every two minutes, during the 15 minute ride home, the podcast would be rudely interrupted by unsolicited editorial comment from the gallery.

“Turn this goddamn boring shit off, I hate this shit, turn this shit off!”

She would then, before I could even react, fall back asleep.

Peace only came when we reached the house and my  wife went to her favorite place — the bathroom floor.

I grabbed a beer and then sent a text to the host and my other coworkers letting them know we were home safe and apologizing for my wife’s inexplicable, intoxication.

The replies from majority were normal, “No problem,” or “Hope she feels better.” But the reply from the host was classic.

“Guess we should have warned her that Chimay is 9 percent alcohol and very smooth. Thought she knew.”*

Well, she does now. She does now.

* Unbeknownst to me, she drank an entire bottle of it, refilling her glass unaware of the potency.  Still though, had it been simple Bitburger like in the mast of this blog, you wouldn’t be reading this.

No internet, long drives, podcasts and history …


Having just moved into a new house I am currently enjoying a fun and exciting (read crappy and boring) 90-minute drive to work and another 90-minute drive home.

This craptastic situation has about zero point zero percent chance of improving in the near future. Fortunately, almost all of this driving in on German autobahns which means you can drive like a madman through like at least the two kilometers of autobahn not currently under construction.

The rest of the time I’m stuck driving 80 kph with lots and lots of cursing by your’s truly.

Roman Republic Empire map fast Like this, only with words
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thankfully there are podcasts. Thankfully, because I fully realize that even just a few years ago the time in the car would have been filled with loud, loud music. But I’m older (none the wiser), balder and becoming my father because if I could, I’m sure it’d be tuned to AM talk radio …

One of my favorites podcasts was and is Mike Duncan’s The History of Rome. Mike starts with the founding of the city and ends with the fall of the Western Empire. If you haven’t yet listened to it I encourage you to do so. Spanning 189

episodes its a great podcast that really delivers in an engaging way, with countless hours on the Roman Empire. Duncan not only excels at extracting the interesting tidbits from Livy and other ancient historians but boils down the narrative into digestible half-hour chunks.

The only bad thing I can think to say about it is that it ended.

]Roman Forum and surroundings Roman Forum and surroundings (Photo credit: KayYen)

When the Western Empire collapses Duncan tells us that he is going to move on to another project.

If you’re interested in giving The History of Rome a try you can do so here. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.

Fortunately another podcaster picked up where Duncan left off. The History of Byzantium is hosted by Robin Pierson (an American TV critic) and aims to keep the History of Rome’s style intact as he takes us from the downfall of the Western Empire through the Byzantium rise and eventual fall.

Having only started in May, the show has published just 15 episodes thus far, but having listened to them all I can tell you that Pierson does indeed succeed in capturing Duncan’s style while lending his own touches and flair.

If you, as I, loved The History of Rome give The History of Byzantium a spin.

That’s it for today.

We’re still unpacking, there’s no cable television and my porn … err, I mean, my Internet isn’t working yet, so again sorry for the lack of updates. But I promise you, as soon as the magic interwebz are active in the new house we’ll be back to drunken rants, foul language and, of course, boobs.